wheel - 4:18 pm on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)
1. Wheel mentions types of links..I'm new at this, and hadn't really thought of categorizing links. You mention blog, directory, hand built - what other categories would you suggest are out there? articles, perhaps?
You'll not get a simple answer. What's the best car to drive? Classify motor vehicles. It's a big chore what you're asking :).
Here's a broad overview. There are varying qualities of links. One one end, a link from the government agency in your nice - top quality. On the other end, a link from a free directory full of crappy sites.
There are varying ways to get links. Target high end sites, send a personalized email on one end. Fire up a program that autospams 10,000 forums or directories on the other end.
Then there's what works - at different times, varying combinations of the above. So you need to appraise the risk in the various approaches.
For example, I tend to target high profile, authoritative sites with personalized emails. This is an expensive endeavor in terms of time and money, but is very low risk. I don't think Google is going to review my site and decide it shouldn't rank - ever.
On the other hand, last year I saw someone do 1000's of paid directory submissions for a competitive term. They ranked for a few months, then are no where to be seen.
And in the middle, in my niche, is a top ranking site that's huge on buying blog posts. They've been ranking for a couple of years now on very competitive terms. Will the time come when their site doesn't rank anymore? What happens to their business then? It's a difficult risk to assess - I know their sales are in the 8 figures annually so is it such a bad idea? They don't have any backup plan if they do get lose their rankings but in the meantime they're laughing all the way to the bank.
Here's what I suggest. Go back and read every single post in this link development section going back a year or two. that will give you an overview of the environment. It may not tell you specifically what you want to do, but you'll get an understanding of what your options are, and you'll start getting an idea of what the risks are. Then you can either try stuff, or you'll know what questions to ask over at elance.